Lon­don bomb blast hurts 29

Tempo - - Front Page -

LON­DON (Reuters) – A home-made bomb on a packed rush-hour com­muter train in Lon­don en­gulfed a car­riage in flames and in­jured 29 peo­ple on Fri­day, but ap­par­ently failed to fully ex­plode, in Bri­tain’s fifth ma­jor ter­ror­ism in­ci­dent this year.

Pas­sen­gers head­ing into the Bri­tish cap­i­tal fled in panic af­ter the blast as the train was about to de­part Par­sons Green sta­tion in West Lon­don at 8:20 a.m. (0720 GMT).

Some suf­fered burns and oth­ers were in­jured in a stam­pede to es­cape the sta­tion, one of the above-ground stops on the un­der­ground “Tube” net­work, but health of­fi­cials said none were thought to be in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion.

“We are chas­ing down sus­pects,” said Bri­tain’s top counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cer, Mark Row­ley. “Some­body has planted this im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice on the Tube: we have to be open-minded at this stage about him and about po­ten­tial as­so­ciates.”

Hun­dreds of de­tec­tives and in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials were in­volved in the man­hunt. Row­ley de­clined to say if the sus­pected bomber had been on the train.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May re­turned to Lon­don to chair a meet­ing of the gov­ern­ment’s emer­gency re­sponse com­mit­tee. She called the in­ci­dent a “cow­ardly at­tack” and said the na­tional threat level had been raised a notch to its high­est level, “crit­i­cal”.

The Is­lamic State mil­i­tant group, which has said it was be­hind sev­eral at­tacks on Western cities in re­cent years, in­clud­ing two at­tacks in Lon­don and one in Manch­ester this year, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity through its news agency, Amaq.

It was im­pos­si­ble to ver­ify the claim, for which Amaq of­fered no ev­i­dence. Western in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials have ques­tioned sim­i­lar claims in the past, say­ing that while Is­lamic State’s ji­hadist ide­ol­ogy may have in­spired some at­tack­ers, there is scant ev­i­dence that it has or­ches­trated at­tacks.

“It is very rou­tine in these sort of cir­cum­stances for IS to claim re­spon­si­bil­ity, whether or not they have had any pre­vi­ous en­gage­ment with the in­di­vid­u­als in­volved,” Row­ley said.

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